Jul 26, 2021 - COVID
COVID-19 cases rise in Tampa Bay, but so do vaccination rates
A nurse looks at paperwork while a man in a mask sits in a chair.
A nurse prepares paperwork with a patient during the Vaccinate at the Plate event at Tropicana Field in June. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

We're headed back into the COVID woods, as cases rise in Tampa Bay.

What's happening: The Florida Department of Health's weekly report on Friday showed Hillsborough County with an 18.1% average positivity rate in the last week — five percentage points higher than the previous week, per Florida Politics.

  • Cases in Pinellas County have doubled. Pasco County also came close to doubling.

But, but, but: More people are taking the coronavirus vaccine in Hillsborough County — 8,918 people were vaccinated in the past week, compared to 7,002 the week before. Pinellas and Pasco are also reporting slightly higher vaccination rates.

Why it matters: We're looking at an even bigger surge this fall if we can't get this under control.

  • A University of South Florida epidemiologist told the News Service of Florida that Hillsborough County could reach enough daily COVID-19 cases in September to exceed hospital bed capacity.

Between the lines: When cases started falling in late spring, the Florida Department of Health stopped sharing key data points with the public, like hospitalizations, infections in nursing homes, and county level infections and vaccinations by race, age and gender.

  • But now, the Tampa Bay Times reports, health experts are saying that not sharing that data could have consequences for disease control.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, told the Times the state has no plans to re-up daily reports, adding: "Anyone who is worried about COVID should get vaccinated."

The bottom line: We know we sound like a broken record, but we'll say it again. If you're not getting vaccinated, be prepared to get COVID.

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